15 years ago the average American had 3 good friends. Studies show that today, we are down to 1.5 people in our lives we can call a good friend. Busy schedules, family responsibilities, work obligations, and physical proximity can make it difficult to create lasting friendships and relationships. Social media and text messaging compounds this by giving the illusion that we are all connected. Our circles of influence have become smaller but most are unaware, because they see updates from friends, family and colleagues of a regular basis. We have a false sense of connection with others and the quality of relationships have severely affected. We no longer have the influence we use to in the lives of people we love.
Okinawa’s culture is deeply rooted in lasting relationships/friendships. In the Okinawa culture, everyone is born in a moai. A moai is a secure social network that works together to ensure each of its members are cared for. This safety net lends financial and emotional support in times of need. Each member can always feel secure knowing that there is always someone there for them. It is not uncommon for individuals within the Okinawan culture to live well into their 100’s. Okinwa happens to have the oldest female population, it is considered ground zero for world longevity and they live on average 7 years longer than the average American. It is not a surprise that a community of support increases longevity and enhanced life satisfaction.
If the American culture had strong social networks like the moai in Okinawa we could avoid a lot of the common stressors of life. Imagine having someone to turn to you can trust when you are short on a bill, when your in need of relationship advice or even someone that could provide a shoulder to cry on. Having that circle of support can be powerful beyond measure in helping us cope with stress, growing individually and give us a true perspective of humility.
Take action today and put the cell phone down and write down 3-5 people that you feel would fit into your moai. Call them and let them know how much they mean to you and that you want to speak with them daily or weekly. Schedule a time where you can meet them and dive into deeper conversation about life and begin to see how your life can truly be enriched. Create your moai so your circle of support never diminishes. My life took a turn for the better once I did this. Yours can too.